In the latest issue of FC Bayern Magazin, Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge made a special appeal for the introduction of video-assisted officiating to the soccer world. Rummenigge's proposal followed hot on the heels of a fiercely contested draw against Leverkusen that saw Xabi Alonso sent off with yellow-red late in the game.
According to Rummenigge, officiating mistakes have reached an unprecedented level of notoriety today. "It has reached a point at which it is no longer acceptable that a single man exclusively makes decisions that have a decisive impact on success in sports, image, and several million euros."
The everyday use of video review and instant replay in American sports is, in his eyes, a sensible model to follow: "We're not talking about science fiction, but rather a superior referee who gives a serious and fair decision in cases of doubt," he writes. The view that debates over bad calls are part of the "tradition (and) romanticism" of soccer is nothing but stubborn resistance to change.
Specifically, Rummenigge proposes that each team could appeal controversial decisions twice per half. In this way, delays for replay reviews would be kept to a minimum. Instead of approximately 94 minutes of regulation and stoppage time, Rummenigge estimates a total of about 100 - all to "simply make the game a bit fairer and more serious."
Rummenigge's appeal in fact comes at precisely the right time: just three days ago, FIFA's rules commission, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) agreed to conduct experiments with video assisted referees (among other important changes). Live experiments of the technology will begin in the 2017/18 season at the latest. For Rummenigge, the change can't come soon enough.